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Member postings for Tricky

Here is a list of all the postings Tricky has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Change Wheel Programme from MEW
06/07/2021 15:35:10

One of the worst Cobol programs I had the misfortune to try to debug had been written by somebody who thought he understood structured programming and contained several pages of nested IF... ELSE... statements making it almost impossible to debug.

One useful feature that is not used now is Decision Tables which make the logic of a problem clearer. In the early 1970s we used them in a system that enabled a list of equipment for a new coalface to be produced from a simple list of parameters such as length of face, type of supports etc. The logic was in the form of decision tables embedded in the Cobol source which was then put through a pre-processor to create source code. The decision tables were created by the user engineering department so they had control over them. Initially we used an ICL Cobol pre-processor but I converted them to IBM using a pre-processor obtained from the States and written by Grace Hopper! I also split the original large program (2 boxes of cards) into sections which could be compiled separately and then dynamically linked at run-time so making amendments easier.


Thread: horizontal boiler stays
19/05/2021 08:00:47

We live in an area with a lot of dairy farms (South Cheshire) and I understand the water pressure is high because the farms use a lot of water. We had to install a pressure reducing valve to reduce it to 3 bar as it was causing us problems. There are also a high number of water leaks in the distribution system that need to be repaired because of this.


Thread: Bernard Towers' Lantern Chuck
30/04/2021 16:32:51

lantern chuck 1.jpgThis is my version of Bernard's Lantern Chuck. I did have a problem with some of the dimensions on the drawing in MEW 302 as they were a mixture of imperial and metric and there was a spurious 1.2 (inches ? ) which was obviously wrong. I think it would have been better to have the drawing in either imperial or metric or as 2 separate drawings. The other thing I found was that with my fat fingers it was a little difficult to get a screw-holder and screw into position ready for shortening.
lantern chuck 2.jpgI was quite pleased to get the 2 parts screwing together nicely as I used a carbon steel tool that I inherited with the lathe from my father and must be over 60 years old for the external thread and a home-made silver steel internal threading tool. At least on my Myford S7 the 8tpi leadscrew makes it easy to cut a 32tpi thread.


Thread: Improved performance over standard V belts?
31/12/2020 17:39:22

As someone who has actually used one I found on my Myford S7 that the vibration on the original belt from motor to countershaft made it almost unusable in high speed but replacing the belt with a Powertwist belt reduced the vibration considerably.

Thread: Delay to Issue 299
07/12/2020 15:47:53

Mine arrived 30 minutes ago from Whitchurch (Shropshire) sorting office but I am still waiting for an Amazon order posted a week ago and supposed to have been delivered by Saturday, so I think the delay is in the Royal Mail delivery system.


Thread: Bassett Lowke 1.5" Burrell Plans Required
09/11/2020 16:32:09

The drawings I use are scanned in versions of the originals and originally I made the plates to these plans but once I started trial assembly of the cylinder and motion I found the holes were in the wrong place so I remade them to fit the eccentrics and connecting rod! Also I re-designed the boiler to have separate hornplates so the width between the hornplates was different to that on the plans.


09/11/2020 14:45:06

I think it is for a flat belt which in the full size would go to the governor but in the model would go on the pulley between the eccentrics and the dummy pulley on the displacement lubricator.

I am building this model and agree that the drawings are full of errors and lacking in detail. I have a copy of the old Lion 3" Burrell drawings which are a doubling up of the Bassett-Lowke drawings and these have more detail. I also have a copy of the 1 1/2" Allchin drawings and these are also useful for things like draincocks.


Thread: 'Bad Referrer' message when trying to view the Archive.
28/10/2020 15:31:08

It works on the latest version of Microsoft Edge!

Thanks for solving the problem.


Thread: Digital readings
22/10/2020 13:35:05

At school I was originally taught physics using CGS (centimetre gram second) with units such as erg and dyne and then we changed to MKS and this then changed to SI units so I am glad I am still using the same imperial units that I have used all my life.


Thread: 'Bad Referrer' message when trying to view the Archive.
18/10/2020 16:27:15


It is not up to the user to change browser settings to allow this to work but the website designer should have been aware of the change to limiting referrers and made the necessary changes to allow the magazines to be viewed. I suggest your web designers read this and this and then make the necessary changes.

One reason for confusion over whether Microsoft Edge works is that the original version of Edge has recently been changed to a version based on Chromium which means it is almost identical to Google Chrome.


Thread: Awstin or Ostin
01/10/2020 20:16:32

As a Rover 2000 owner I can confirm that they do have aluminium boot lids and bonnets and, in fact, all the body panels are bolt-on.


Thread: Warco Mill - but what model??
28/08/2020 09:01:46

It looks like a Warco Major and is still current so Warco should be able to supply a manual.

See web page Warco Major


Thread: Myford S7 Cutting Barrel Shaped Cylinders
10/06/2020 16:45:44

There is a S& bed for sale on the Homeworkshop site for £100, I don't know if that would be suitable for you.

Thread: WM18 - Broken it again :(
20/02/2020 08:58:56
Posted by not done it yet on 20/02/2020 08:24:40:

In real life we measure diameters, not radii. When did you last measure a radius? What are your drills marked in? Radii, or diameters? When did you last turn a bar to a radius? So it goes on - diameters are far more useful/important than radii.

I use a radius every time a cut a curve such as mounting items on my TE boiler, reversing link machining etc, etc


It comes down to just using r^2 instead of (r^/2) ^2, which, of course, simplifies to D^2/4.?????


Edited By Tricky on 20/02/2020 09:02:18

Thread: Old Computers - why do people bother
07/02/2020 09:46:24
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 06/02/2020 16:09:31:

All NT based systems from NT/4 onwards (Win 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 10) were on CD only although sometimes a floppy was required to load drivers before installation could start.

That is all very well if there is an operating system running and the CD can boot. This was not always the case with CD drives. If it was an empty machine with a non bootable CD you created 6 Boot Disks using a routine provided by Microsoft and used those to make the CD readable to load the rest of the OS.

Making XP install floppies

The system requirements for All NT systems from NT 4 onwards included a CD drive as the OS was supplied on a CD. Most PC bios support boot from CD so there is no need to use floppies to install on a clean PC. There are other ways for installing the OS but these mainly apply to organisations with a large number of PCs. See Deployment here,

Apologies for the bold text, nothing personal, it is only to make it stand out when responding to stuff in the indent.

My original post was trying to show the growth in size of the MS operating systems rather than be pedantic as to how you could load them. Certainly from Vista onwards a DVD drive was required if loading from optical media.

As an aside, when I was working at the Coal Boards Computer HQ in Cannock a friend of mine developed a system called Planning Information and Scheduling System with Optional Forecasting Features which was actually a good description of the system but management did not spot the acronym.


06/02/2020 12:52:38
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 06/02/2020 10:39:31:
Posted by Danny M2Z on 06/02/2020 08:47:12:

.........I wish that a modern microprocessor had as much access to the core and registers,

The micro computer world has moved away from that with CP/M, Unix and MsDos/Windows from the 1960s onwards.

Once you accept the concept of an operating system you then cannot access the processor as it would mean that your programs were no longer processor independent and multi threading would become difficult, if not impossible.

If programmers took advantage of this opportunity (and many would IMHO) you could be in the nightmare scenario of many, many different versions of programs for different hardware setups, and needing to pay for a new one when anything changed. A program that only worked on certain versions of Intel processor, Last years Apple devices and not on any AMD chip except one version that is not the one fitted to your particular laptop? No thank you! - Having an OS may be bloated, but it is practical.

If you want direct access I believe PICs and similar devices will allow this, and many of these devices of today are in fact far in advance of the processors of 40 years ago - When you get to computers (laptop, Apple, *nix or Windows) it is just a different universe.

Mind you I am glad I am not the only one still alive and able to remember 6502, 6809 and Z80 chips - even if not the code!

Take care


I do not understand your logic here. As an OS such as Windows accesses the hardware you are saying you need a different OS for each version of Intel Chip. This is incorrect if you are talking about IBM PC architecture systems which were all developed from the Intel 8086/8088 chipset. Subsequent processors have added instructions and extended the addressing range but they belong to the same family. MS-DOS did not stop you accessing the processor.

User programs now run in a protected mode and are unable to access all the memory to stop them crashing the whole system if they fail. I first encountered this on IBM/370 mainframes where each program was given a virtual memory of 16MB which was the maximum size of partition and this included the OS!

In terms of operating systems on Floppy disks you are mistaken. MS-DOS was on 3 x 31/2" floppies, Windows 3.1 on 6, Windows for Workgroups 8 and Windows 95 0n 13 (I think, I can't find my copies). All NT based systems from NT/4 onwards (Win 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 10) were on CD only although sometimes a floppy was required to load drivers before installation could start.


Thread: Ink jet printer woes
31/01/2020 16:26:27

Nick, If you bought the TI printer only 22 years ago then they probably were not Sharp manufactured as I don't think the Sharp models were still in production then. Also they did not have a separate waste toner bottle, just a 15,000 toner/developer cartridge and 30,000 drum.

From about 1996 Sharp concentrated on changing from analogue copiers to digital copiers and used these as a basis for their printers. One of my responsibilities was to help convert the analogue copier sales force into selling digital copier/printer/scanners - not an easy job!


31/01/2020 13:27:20
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 31/01/2020 10:54:49:

Not new I'm afraid even 20 years ago Texas laser printers used similar devices to 'turn off' drums, waste toner bottles and toners - as did the clones (Can't remember 100% but perhaps QMS and Sharp??) These were influenced by time and not amount of resource used.

I do not believe this is correct for two reasons. One because I used to work for Sharp in the marketing department for these printers and two because my JX9685 printer is still working after over 25 years.

In fact the Texas Instrument printers were actually made by Sharp with about 10 TI to 1 of Sharp.

After having 3 ink-jet printers over the last 10 years I have now bought a Lexmark MC3224dwe colour laser MFP which is much more suited to my occasional printer use.



Thread: Beaten and robbed.
27/01/2020 08:54:26
Posted by not done it yet on 27/01/2020 08:12:21:

I read the first sentence (possibly the only full stop in it?). I suppose at least he told us it would have been boring, so easily avoided at the first line.

I lost count of the number of full stops as, in fact, the sentences are very short which is much better than some of the rambles that go on here. I thought limited attention span was a fault of today's youth smiley

Thread: Too ambitious or achievable?
18/01/2020 10:57:56

Jan Ridders designed a very simple 4-stroke engine which is easy to make and which was serialised in Model Engineer. Details are on his web site here.

I can confirm it goes pop pop very satisfactorily!


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